Wednesday, September 6, 2017

rainy day delight

So real talk: I had almost as much fun editing the videos and pictures and writing out yesterday's post about our paper chase at Tranquility as I did actually riding it (ok not really, but you know what I mean lol).

Such a fun day - I love just going out and having a good time with our horses. No pressure for anything. Just a loose, free-wheeling romp around. Glad you enjoyed reading about it too!

jump 1 of a triple bending line! 
Because we all know it's not always like that every day. That some days are harder than others. That sometimes pressure and expectations mount - even when we're trying to avoid it.

This feels especially true for me now - when the horse has done so well when I ride him, and I'm so excited for pushing forward with all my grandiose plans for the fall season. But yet, things have just kept feeling like they are going a little sideways.

looking pretty reasonable even tho i made him do the adds!
Repeated trips to the west coast. Long days in DC. An aggravated splint, then the abscess / bruise / whatever. Schooling plans postponed bc of weather, then postponed again. All of these things combined with countless other seemingly minor distractions have turned all my carefully constructed plans on their head.

skip-a-dee-do-dah through that lead change!
Remember when we were coming out of our last starter trial back in early July at Fair Hill? When I wrote about how we had the whole 'summer break' ahead of us to really drill in on refining and filling in some of the holes in our training? Yeeeeahhh haha. Funny how all those plans seem to fare when horses are involved!

then easy out over the third and final element
So lately I've felt a distinct sense of urgency in making my rides count. For weeks now I've been counting down the number of rides before our next event. Then recounting and recalculating again and again when Charlie would come out sore in his hoof. Or when yet another xc school had to be rescheduled bc of ground conditions.

It's the worst sort of arithmetic - taking a number you previously thought was barely workable... then continuously paring it down further and further....

look at Sir being all adorable over a small trot jump!!
And it's not even like this next event is of critical importance in the grand scheme of things, ya know? But yet.... after the events missed first because of my broken leg, and then because things fell apart with Isabel.... I'm almost zealously aggressively protective of our chances for going out and doing the thing.

I don't care if we win. Honestly I don't even care if we end up with various penalties or an elimination or whatever, so long as the experience can feel additive and positive for Charlie in his continuing education on all things eventing. Because really even just participating at this point feels so important to me.

omfg but look guys he can bend RIGHT now too!!!! remember when we legit couldn't even turn right?!?! 
And so we've been carefully feeling Charlie out, day by day. How is his hoof? What is he up for? Where is his general fitness level these days?

The last six weeks have just been killer on us. His nascent topline is totally gone. I've had to start playing with shims and half pads again to improve saddle fit to make up for the muscle loss. His cardiovascular fitness (which had never been a high priority as a green bean anyway) is now probably as pitiful as it ever gets for a thoroughbred lol.

he bends enough to still hit each fence dead center. yesssss!
And yet..... This horse just keeps feeling good. Sure, he can take a little warming up. And can be a little rusty about some of the aids. But he has retained everything. Charlie keeps telling me that he is picking up what I'm putting down. Learning the rules. Fitting the puzzle pieces together. Perhaps most importantly, he's really truly actively participating in our rides. Staying with me, trying and offering up answers.

That feeling from him is part of what has kept me so focused on trying to make each ride count even when the rides themselves are too few and far between.

eyes already on the third fence. easy peasy. atta boy charlie!
I'm addicted to that good feeling. Greedy for more. I can't get enough of it. And what's more - not to go way overboard in the anthropomorphization here, but I think Charlie might feel the same.

He continues to be a pressure-averse horse (more on that soon when we'll discuss a recent dressage lesson that unfortunately crossed his current boundaries). He continues to be a horse who does the thing because it's interesting to him, fun to him - not because he is a horse with a huge heart. But so far? He seems to reeeally like this whole eventing schtick. Even the dressage, rough lesson and all.


So when I pulled Charlie out to see if he was sound for a light jump school (having not jumped in 2wks and barely ridden otherwise)? And he just cruised around like he never missed a day? Knowing he is 100% a horse with zero qualms telling me when he doesn't feel good or doesn't wanna, seeing him settle so easily into his work just makes me that much more determined.

Obviously the horse's health and happiness must always be a top priority. Always. (And Charlie is very clear when something is bugging him). I'm going to lay claim to every single good day Charlie offers me at this point tho.

Our conditioning and schooling over the past few weeks has been woefully inadequate compared to what I originally planned... And yet the horse is going the best he's ever gone. Quite simply, it just makes me so excited for what may come. We'll see. I have hopes and dreams for this horse. Fully understanding that horses dictate their own schedules and plans... But I'm hopeful!

First things first tho: so far things are looking promising for this weekend at Fair Hill. Fingers crossed! Have you ever had a similar situation - where everything kept kinda going a little bit wrong, and yet somehow things still ended up working out?

29 comments:

  1. I hear you on the 'just doing the thing' is important. I do believe that a solid foundation stays even when you can't school regularly. And you have put a nice solid foundation on Charlie. I am sure that you will have a good time at Fair Hill and come home with a number not a letter. Go get 'em.

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    1. aw thanks ;) it's definitely a good feeling when the training sticks haha!! but yea, mostly i just want to go and compete and have fun and all that good stuff - fingers crossed!

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  2. Charlie looks so solid in those photos! Yay right bend! The break may not have been awesome for his fitness, but his brain-body connection being able to execute the maneuvers seems to be no worse for wear - look at him! <3

    Little bit wrong...little bit wrong...jk it's all cool on the day of: see, RBTR 2017 lol

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    1. no worse for the wear - haha that's exactly it, i'll take it!! and yea if we can get as good of an outcome as you got at RBTR i'll be quite happy!!

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  3. I actually think he looks spectacular and BN at Fair Hill is not too intense Just go out and have a blast!! that is my motto!!
    And yay for the bend!! I think he does not look that much diff than July (Tho yuo know him better of course)> You will be fine. Have fun. But yes life gets in the way many times on the path to greatness :) We just have to learn how to skip over all the crap! HA

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    1. yup going out and having a blast is basically my whole purpose here!!! i pretty much love the bn course at fair hill - have done it a couple times now and expect charlie to do quite nicely on it. i just wish i could have him more physically prepared - the changes in him between now and july are mostly in his topline - difficult to assess while he's wearing a saddle! it's not too bad tho - he doesn't look terrible and his weight is fine. i'd just like him to be a bit more muscled up in the right places!! in time tho!

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    2. and at FH if you feel he is getting tired (Tho i dont think Charlie gets tired) if you can trot him i find that helps some too. You know him well so I am sure you wll have the best ride possible. :) at least the course is not much longer than our intro course which he soared thru last time !:)

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    3. yup he's going to be fine at Fair Hill!

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  4. Damn this horse just keeps getting better and better! I'm so excited for your future with him! I have been worrying about not getting in enough ride time and XC miles before FH, too, but I think we'll be OK!

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    1. aw thanks!!! i'm so excited too - like childlike glee haha! and yea it's always hard coming back after a break to feel prepared for jumping back into it - but hopefully we've all got everything all lined up ready to go. can't wait to see you and Dino there!!

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  5. he looks awesome in those videos, he looks like hes so much more adjustable and honestly it makes him look less hugenormous.

    also i love his attitude. i can see how much he WANTS to do it.

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    1. omg he feels wayyyy less gigantic now that he's got a clue about where his legs are and how to arrive at a distance in a purposeful manner haha. amazingly, lately - he even is starting to have a half halt!!!!

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  6. He looks like such a solid citizen here! So excited that he's "getting it" and you can just enjoy the process.

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    1. definitely - it's nice to finally be able to sit back and let him go with out needing to manage every step!

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  7. Oh, Charles. You really are the best.

    Fitness levels have definitely dropped over here too but muscle memory is strong. :)
    You both look great jumping around after two weeks off!

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    1. thanks! and thank god for muscle memory when all else fails!!! haha

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  8. Oh man, Emma! All the FEELS. I'm so excited for you guys. He's got such a fantastic attitude about everything and I'm so happy that you have a partner to help you achieve your goals!

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    1. thanks, i'm so happy he's proving to be such a wonderful partner too. makes me so happy :D

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  9. Yeah I bet that's a switch--I remember Izzy being such a stoic about pain (esp regards saddle fit) and while the sensitive princesses are kinda tough to manage, at least you never have to wonder how they're REALLY feeling.

    Ha and I hear you on the "let's get out there" sentiment. I keep wanting to sign my baby mare up for stuff, then remembering that hey. She doesn't really steer yet. Take a deep breath.

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    1. yea izzy expressed her discomfort or displeasure very (VERY) differently. part of what made her such a special mare was her seemingly infinite capacity for pressure. she would just keep working. so i was definitely very spoiled with that haha. charlie.... charlie is a slightly different creature haha. but we keep working on it and he seems to get better the more he understands!

      and i can't wait to see you getting zoe out and about too! those days might be closer than you think! and next spring will be a whole new landscape!!

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  10. It's so hard when real life (esp real adulting life) interrupts pony time, but I've found that even with the young ones, they retain SO MUCH. This post feels like it was made for me, in a way, because earlier this Summer I felt a strong urgency to ride and "OMG MUST MAKE EVERY SINGLE RIDE COUNT AND WORK ON ABC ALL THE WAY TO Z EVERY TIME OMG." And now... I'm kind of like, "Meh, we could mosey around trail riding. Sure, we'll work on some baby haunches in..." It doesn't have to be anything ground breaking or anything crazy - just going out and doing the thing on the horse is just as important on the refinement and "new ideas". I think you have done such a wonderful job with Charlie - from his undersaddle improvements to his general health and quality of life. There is something to be said about that and it's so much more important than having a rigorous schedule sometimes.

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    1. yea definitely agreed that it's more about the whole picture than any one individual piece. keeping charlie healthy and happy in his nutrition and turnout and general wellness is just as important as keeping him schooled! and agreed that it's also important to step back and mosey too. i probably should have mentioned that in my post - i may be internally counting days and feeling that urgency, but my schedule always has those 'down days' and easy going trails and hacks baked into it for charlie - can't risk souring him to the work! it's super reassuring tho - even on days when i just want to do a purposeful, focused 10ish minutes or so before hacking out, he's still showing up ready for work. i like it!

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  11. Totally understand the feeling. Now that we've actually "jumped" it feels like now the pressure is a bit on. We must make each ride good. Yesterday was supposed to be easy; stretchy trot. That did NOT happen. I should've just not ridden lol. But it's that experience with the horse, and I've noticed that even while I'm asking more of Amber, and expecting her to do these new things, every day she's waiting for me. Every day she's pushing at her gate because she wants to get out and do something. And we want them to crave that as much as we do. Despite Amber's ears being back when she jumps and me maybe not being able to fully tell whether she's super excited or a little nervous, I really feel that she IS liking this. She is having fun. I don't think she'd be as eager to get out as she is if she weren't enjoying this. So I agree: You may have had less rides, but if it's sticking with him, I honestly think that's all that matters. Sometimes our horses need those days off too lol.

    Good luck at Fair Hill! Crossing my fingers he stays nice and sound!

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    1. ha idk i thought amber looked mostly like she was concentrating pretty hard on the jumps (and jumping them with gusto!) in the gifs - the ears back for that wouldn't bother me at all! isabel could have a super fierce expression too sometimes haha, i kinda loved it. it's such a good feeling tho when they learn that new skill and seem really excited about it!

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  12. I find planning anything with horses to be a recipe for disaster. I have made it to only 1 of the events I planned on attending this year. I'm still having fun and doing other things, but plans just get thrown out the window. I would really prefer to just wait and enter shows the week before because I never know where we going to be in a month. One of the hardest things with eventing - for me -is how far in advance they want you to enter shows.

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    1. ugh yea planning is so hard :( and i shouldn't even complain bc really for the most part this season through spring and summer unfolded just about exactly how (or better than) i expected! but yea, that can all change at any moment with horses (or, ya know, riders who manage to break their legs stepping out of a trailer ffs smh). at least around here entries are typically due about 2wks in advance. so not too terribly early.... but yea sometimes it's so much easier to just show up and register the day of!

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  13. Honestly, the times where things haven't gone according to plan have been the times that have worked out the best in the end. Apparently I should just start flying by the seat of my pants all the time.

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  14. Such a silly question, things going sideways is what half of us bloggers write about! It is simple fortune that half of it works out in the end. He is starting to look like such a seasoned professional though OMG

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  15. I think the horse is being trained even when we don't think we are training. Obviously you got something good going on! Good luck this weekend!

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